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Hempel's 90 years - a story of ingenuity and enterprise

Published on 2005-07-11. Author : SpecialChem

Hempel, one of the first manufacturers of ready-made marine paints in Denmark, celebrates its 90th anniversary.

With 300 Danish kroner in his pocket, young Joergen Christian Hempel started a wholesale business on the waterfront in Copenhagen on July 4, 1915. J.C. Hempel's idea, which formed the basis of the company that still bears his name 90 years later, was the production of ready-mixed paints for the maritime industry.

From the start, Hempel had international ambitions and the first exports began in the early 1920s. During the Second World War raw materials were in short supply, but Hempel survived through ingenuity. Exports were resumed after the war and factories were planned and built. The post-war years saw Hempel developing into the largest independent coating business of its kind in the world.

The next wave of growth came in the 1950s and early 1960s, driven by a prosperous shipping market. Hempel opened more factories and further expanded the Hempel network around the world.

The oil crisis in 1973 was a testing time, as raw material prices rose and the shipping industry felt the full effects of the economic downturn. Showing the same sort of adaptability that had served the company in two world wars, Hempel began to expand into new markets.

An agreement with Hai Hong Chemicals, a division of China Merchants Group, resulted in a joint venture which today, through three factories, six sales offices and nine stock points servs the marine, container and protective coatings segments.

Within Europe, the disappearance of the shipbuilding industry to Korea and China has forced the Group to find new markets. Heavy industrial and wind energy markets have partly compensated for the loss of the sales to the shipbuilding industry in Europe.

Today, Hempel is represented in 82 countries, with production, sales or distribution in 47 of these. It has 18 production sites and more than 130 stock points around the world. In 2004 Hempel sold a record 214m litres of paint and turnover rose 9% to €583.7m from €535.7m the year before.

Although purchasing patterns and supplier/client relationships may have changed over the years, the Hempel Group, this month 90 years young, will continue to expand, based on our founder, J.C. Hempel's philosophy of "Quality & Service".

Source: Hempel


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